ARC Blog

Self-Care and Healing During Stressful Times

The root word for healing is haelen, an Anglo Saxon Word that means whole, implying that body, mind, emotions, and spirit need to be reconnected and integrated. Here are several ways to enhance these four important aspects of your life:

Don’t travel alone

Form a spiritual journey group to share stories, practices, and support each other’s growth.  

Draw your life journey and share it. 

Through visually representing your past, present and future experiences you will more easily see patterns of your life, and gain insight into where you are now called to grow.  The soul speaks in images so this exercise goes more deeply into your unconscious. Journey inward to find peace, strength and balance.

Commit to a balanced spiritual practice using a variety of ways to connect to your particular idea of divine essence.

  1. Use breathwork to bring yourself into the present moment. A simple practice is to inhale through the nose to the count of four all the way down into the belly.  Then hold for two counts and exhale through pursed lips to the count of six. Pause and repeat several times.
  2. In the morning, mentally review your day and break it down into segments. For each part of the day, leave time to pause to ask for blessing and guidance. 
  3. In the evening, review your day.  If there were times you felt disconnected, reflect why and then release them. Honor the sacred times of your day with gratitude and seed your unconscious with these blessings while you sleep.
  4. In the course of a week, make sure you have times of silence and stillness, times of music and movement, times of creativity and times of deeply connecting to others.

Connect to the energy of the Universe

  1. Exercising outdoors with walking, running, Tai Chi, Yoga, or Qigong are good ways to tap into the natural flow of the rhythm of the earth. 
  2. Sit very still in an outdoor setting watching one part of the scene very intently. You will begin to feel yourself energetically merging with your surroundings as you focus your mind and senses. Breathe in this energy and feel it filling your body.

Let go of what no longer is for your highest good. 

Be easy on yourself! Often self-judgment and regret cause problems. It’s important to develop self-acceptance and compassion for yourself.

  1. Let go of expectations.
  2. Know detached involvement by pausing before emotion takes over to observe it – take time to journal your thoughts on where it is coming from and if it is related to other triggers. You have just a few minutes to move into this mode before neurochemicals flood your body as the adrenal glands kick into action.
  3. Bring your feelings into your heart and out of your head. The heart is more than an organ. It is energetically 100 times more powerful than the brain and can help you heal. The Institute of Heart Math has done research and offers free guidance and meditation online. 
  4. Let go into flowing with the path of least resistance, letting life unfold.
  5. Develop trust, patience, and acceptance

Open to divine guidance.  

  1. Turn to your body for insight into your inner realm through meditating with an area where you may be experiencing tension or discomfort. Ask what information or guidance it may have for you.  
  2. Watch for signs from the natural world as metaphors for your support and growth.  
  3. Be tuned into images or scenes that draw your attention and deeply touch your spirit.

Deepen compassion for yourself and others.  

Use the Buddhist practice of Metta meditation. Decide what you most need at the moment and offer it to yourself first. For example, “may I find peace of mind.” Next offer it to those closest to you, then your acquaintances, then strangers and finally those who have hurt you. This is a good way to foster forgiveness.

Discover your passions.

Passions keep you going and revitalize you. Use your gifts to help others, contributing to your community and the world.

Pay attention to your thoughts.

Avoid the negative ones and surround yourself with the positive. Recall the important people in your life that have supported you.

Consider receiving Healing Touch.

Healing touch is a form of energy work developed by nurses and integrated into many hospitals around the worldHere are two simple holds to use on yourself if you feel stressed or your mind is racing:

  1. First, rub your hands together briskly to create energy. Place the palm of one hand on the back of your head where it joins the spinal cord. Place the palm of the other hand on the forehead and visualize energy running between them. This will help to balance and calm your mind.
  2. Increase the energy in your palms as above. Place the right palm over your heart and the left palm to the left and slightly upward from the heart. The left hand will be filling the vagus nerve which is the main connection to the calming parasympathetic nervous system. The vagus nerve then runs down into your solar plexus and belly so you can continue to move your hand into those areas.

Visit my website at to hear two free guided meditations and learn more about spiritual practice and Healing Touch.

Abundant blessings and peace to you, Betsy Willey

Betsy graduated from the University of Michigan and taught English and History at the high school level.  She received a certificate in spiritual direction from The Dominican Center and was certified in Healing Touch in 2000.  She is a retreat leader and author of Footprints of the Soul: A Creative Guide for Spiritual Journey Groups and Individuals.


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